Report: Toyota was legally required to stop selling recalled models

Toyota has quite the PR nightmare on its hands. The boiling cauldron of complaints surrounding unintended acceleration issues bubbled over this month with two separate but giant recalls. The latest involves eight Toyota models that contain defective accelerator pedal mechanisms that could stick over time due to wear.

There is no fix available for the pedal mechanisms yet and dealers have continued to sell new models affected by the recall, so Toyota announced yesterday that it's suspending the sale and production of these eight models for the week of February 1. It was a bold move that made headlines, as Toyota stands to lose a lot of money. On the other hand, the Japanese automaker got some pats on the back for doing the right thing.

Turns out, the decision to stop producing these vehicles wasn't made by Toyota alone. The Detroit News reports that Toyota is required by law to stop selling the vehicles since there is no fix available yet. David Strickland, the new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that Toyota consulted with his agency, which informed the automaker of its obligations and it complied. That still doesn't answer why these recalled vehicles were being sold five days after the recall was announced.

Nevertheless, Toyota spokesman Mike Michels is reported saying that the company's decision to stop selling the recalled vehicles was voluntary, but that they also had a legal requirement to do so. How do you voluntary do something that you're obligated to do?

In related news, General Motors has confirmed to Autoblog's sister site, AOL Autos, that it is putting a hold on all remaining Pontiac Vibe sales, as the model is under recall for the same throttle issue that afflicts its mechanical twin, the Toyota Matrix. Fortunately for GM, there are apparently only six Vibe units left in stock nationwide as the brand's shutdown continues.

[Sources: The Detroit News, AOL Autos | Image: David McNew/Getty]

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